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Curfew declared in Baghdad after protesters storm Premier’s office


Baghdad  –   Iraqi authorities on Friday declared a curfew in Baghdad shortly after thousands of protesters breached the heavily fortified Green Zone and stormed the Premier’s office, demanding for reforms.
The Baghdad Operations Command also closed access roads to Baghdad in an attempt to prevent more protesters from entering the city.
Witnesses said that security forces guarding the Green Zone fired bullets and tear gas to disperse the protesters, who were mainly followers of the influential Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.
“At least three demonstrators were killed and 22 injured,’’ the witnesses said.
There was no immediate official confirmation as at the time of report.
The breaching was the second in less than a month of the Green Zone in central Baghdad.
Late last month, al-Sadr’s loyalists pushed their way into the area, which also houses several foreign embassies, and briefly stormed parliament.
Iraq has for months been locked in a crisis over forming a government of independents.
Major political blocs in parliament have repeatedly blocked the move.
Iraqi governments have been formed along political and sectarian lines since the US-led 2003 invasion that deposed Saddam Hussein.
Critics say the system contributes to corruption and administrative incompetence.
The Prime Minister, Haider al-Abadi, a Shiite Muslim, has warned that the current row is to the advantage of the Islamic State radical Sunni militia that holds key areas in Iraq. (dpa/NAN)

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